Although audit sampling is a common procedure, relatively little is known about the sampling practices of auditors in public accounting, industry, and government. This study surveyed practicing auditors to determine how they: (1) planned sample sizes, (2) selected sample items, and (3) evaluated sample outcomes. Respondents also provided data on the training received, debiasing techniques employed when using nonstatistical (judgmental) methods, and literature sources relied on to provide guidance regarding sampling matters.

Respondents in all areas of practice reported that a majority of audit sampling applications rely on nonstatistical methods for sample planning, selection, and evaluation. Despite the heavy reliance on nonstatistical methods, less than 10 percent of respondents reported receiving training in debiasing techniques, and no respondents reported using these techniques. Among statistical methods dollar‐unit sampling is the most frequently employed technique. All respondents reported reliance on employer guidelines, and most reported reliance on sampling standards promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

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